Why One of Prince William and Kate's Invited Guests Turned Down an Invitation to Their Wedding
Garrison Sergeant Major Bill Mott could have been seated in the pews of Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton 10 years ago, but he gave up his prized invitation in order to do his job.
Mott's role that day was to ensure that the organization of hundreds of soldiers, air crew and naval staff that lined the streets for the parade by the couple and the royal family back to the palace was pitch-perfect.
Mott, 60, had been asked to attend the wedding because he was a veteran of laying out the precise parades for Trooping the Colour and other ceremonial events and therefore had a close working relationship with the royal household and William and his family. But when his commanding officer said he would be needed, he passed his ticket on to his sister Sarah-Jayne Scott and son Jonathan.
"My job was to make sure things ran smoothly," he tells PEOPLE.
Looking back on the wedding day, he tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, "I was up at "dark o'clock." [Before the wedding] I had to mark the ground for the guard of honor and the street liners."
"Even at 4 a.m., there were people already waving their flags. They were thrilled to bits that he was getting married to the woman of his dreams. There was that euphoria. It was just a really lovely atmosphere — no negative vibes whatsoever."
Mott, who is now the GSM at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Pennsylvania, marked the ground in the run-up to the big day with hardwearing chalk-based in wax.
"There will also be a mark on the ground on one side of the road where the officer in charge will know where to go with his specific half-company of 20 men, plus the officer," he says.
He walked the route from Wellington Barracks to Westminster Abbey to make sure all those markings were complete and that there were no potholes, "no road furniture, traffic furniture that was going to cause problems for the mounted divisions for instance," he adds.
"I would even check the flags on the mall. Occasionally, I might see a Union Flag upside down."
Thankfully, there was nothing out of place, he reports.
For more memories of Prince William and Kate Middleton's special day, pick up a copy of this week's PEOPLE on newsstands on Friday.
He says that despite not being inside the Abbey, "I was skipping along the Mall to get things done knowing that I had family in there enjoying themselves. It was as rewarding because I know that I had two people that I love dearly that were there and felt this magical moment of being involved in something so important."
"It's amazing how close it is when you are there on the ground. It is only 34 paces from the railings to the wall and they are only 15-20ft above you. I'm a soldier, a man's man, but even for me it was lovely to see that."
While he carried out the role, the royal household said he could pass on his ticket to his sister Sarah-Jayne Scott and son Jonathan.
"It was as rewarding because I know that I had two people that I love dearly that were there and felt this magical moment of being involved in something so important," he shares.
Mott is sharing his memories of the big day as William, 38, and Kate, 39, unveiled two gorgeous portraits to mark their 10th anniversary.
Tune into The CW on Thursday at 8/7c for a tenth wedding anniversary special, People Presents: William & Kate's Royal Anniversary
Through his position as GSM at London District, which he calls a "bespoke position in the British Army," Mott had many meetings with William both in the run-up to the wedding and at other ceremonials and says' he's "an outstanding young man, a lovely lad."
"He was a cadet at Sandhurst when I was a regimental sergeant major. It is lovely to see how he is maturing and some of the things that you see him doing," Mott says.
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